It was an agonising two-point defeat for Pat Lam’s men at Parc y Scarlets today as Scarlets regained top spot of the PRO12 league.

Connacht played some impressive attacking rugby but ultimately came up short after conceding a 79th minute penalty that replacement outhalf Steve Shingler converted to snatch the victory.

Matt Healy scored the only try of the first half after racing from his own 22 to the opposite end of the pitch for the five points. Connacht had two tries disallowed by the TMO either side of that score but led 10 – 3 at the break thanks to a penalty and conversion kick from inside centre Craig Ronaldson.

Scarlets started the second half stronger and scored ten points inside the opening five minutes after the restart. Ronaldson stepped with a penalty kick to make it 13 – 13 after 48 minutes. It stayed that way until the hour mark when a Scarlets break allowed full back Michael Collins to get over for his side’s second try but Aled Thomas missed the conversion.

Seven minutes later, Jack Carty, taking over the kicking duties from the substituted Ronaldson, reduced the gap to just two points when Connacht won a penalty at the breakdown.

The Athlone man was up to the tee again ten minutes later and confidently kicked another three points to put Connacht one point up with less than three minutes on the clock.

But the game was turned on its head once again when replacement prop Ronan Loughney was sin-binned for a tip tackle in a ruck and Shingler, a second-half replacement decided a nail-biter with two minutes to go.

Full time: Scarlets 21 – 19 Connacht

Scarlets: Michael Collins; Steffan Evans, Regan King (Steffan Hughes ’68), Hadleigh Parkes, DTH van der Merwe; Aled Thomas (Steve Shingler ’73), Aled Davies (Rhodri Williams ’53); Rob Evans, Ken Owens (capt), Samson Lee (Rhodri Jones ’76); Tom Price, Lewis Rawlins (Maselino Paulino ’73); Aaron Shingler, John Barclay, Morgan Allen.

Connacht: Tiernan O’Halloran; Niyi Adeolokun, Bundee Aki, Craig Ronaldson (Rory Parata ’64), Matt Healy; Jack Carty, Kieran Marmion (Ian Porter ’76); Finlay Bealham (Ronan Loughney ’68), Tom McCartney (Dave Heffernan ’68), Nathan White (Rodney Ah You ’68); Ultan Dillane, Andrew Browne (Aly Muldowney ’10); John Muldoon (capt), Jake Heenan (Sean O’Brien ’68), Eoghan Masterson.

Referee: Marius Mitrea (FIR)





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